Nurse in Victoria hospital gets COVID-19, quarantine extended for colleagues

Eleven other nurses, who were engaged in the COVID-19 duty along with the 37-year-old nurse, have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2.
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A 37-year-old nurse, who is working at the Victoria Hospital and treating COVID-19 patients, was tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. She is now being treated at the same hospital.                                    

However, sources told TNM that the hospital collected her samples again on Thursday for a retest, suspecting a case of false positive.

Meanwhile, the quarantine period of 11 other nurses, who were along with this nurse, has been extended by a week.

Her swab samples were collected as part of the protocol, where doctors and nurses have to take the COVID-19 test after their mandated 14-day quarantine on completing their COVID-19 duty. This testing is done on the 13th day of the quarantine period, after which they are allowed to go home.

A source in the hospital, who is aware of this case, said, “This retest is not in line with the protocol but as an exception as she is a medical staff. We are not sure how exactly she contracted the disease. The other staff members in the same batch have tested negative.”

According to the Karnataka Health Department officials, contact tracing of this case is still underway. Meanwhile, it is speculated that the nurse's husband is the primary contact.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials said that this is the second case where a healthcare professional has tested positive.

On April 11, a 37-year-old doctor working in Shifaa Hospital in Shivaji Nagar had tested positive for SAR-CoV-2. While other doctors and staff who were in contact with the infected doctor were tested, they all, fortunately, tested negative.

Many hospitals in Bengaluru have been sealed after patients who visited those hospitals later tested positive for the virus.

Following apprehensions among the frontline staff, of contracting the infection themselves, Karnataka Health Commissioner Pankaj Pandey had started a separate testing programme for them.

The testing of frontline staff — doctors, nurses, police, administrative officers and all medical care professionals, including ambulance drivers — began on May 1 at the KC General Hospital in the city.

Dr Venkateshaiah, Medical Superintendent of the KC General Hospital and in-charge of this testing programme in Bengaluru, told TNM that at least 60-70 staff members are being tested on a daily basis.

Another senior staff at the same hospital said that none of the 1,000-odd frontline staff, who were tested as part of the programme, have contracted the virus.

It may be recalled that the first case of a doctor or medical staff testing positive was reported from Kalaburagi district in March. The 63-year-old doctor was treating 76-year-old Kalaburagi man, who, incidentally, was the first in the country to succumb to COVID-19 and other comorbidities.

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